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Old 07-01-2017, 01:11 PM   #1
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1984 31' Sovereign
Edmond , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jun 2010
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New shelves in place of fridge

I've been kicking around the idea of removing my fridge and replacing it with shelving. Maybe some type of shelves with a small lip and bungee cordage so I can place all of my outdoor gear on it (like shoes, backpacks, hats, etc). There is nothing wrong with the fridge; I just never use it. It seems like my trips aren't really pre-planned, so I don't have time to go plug in the trailer and get the fridge cooled down before we pull out. I also usually use my Yeti ice chests anyways. I was also thinking of removing a portion of the counter top and cabinet that run from the fridge towards the sofa on the street side of the AS. I still want to keep the portion of the counter where the table connects, but the rest can go. I would like to get an ARB fridge to place in the newly created void where the cabinet used to be. I really don't need that much space for food so I was thinking about getting a 37 quart ARB fridge and keeping it inside beside my newly created shelves. I will try to get some pictures taken this weekend and posted. Does anyone have any thoughts are suggestions? I seem to always have more than enough room for food, but never enough room for toys!!!! I own a 1983 31 foot Sovereign with a center bath. Thanks and Happy 4th of July!!!
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Old 07-01-2017, 01:52 PM   #2
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1992 29' Excella
2010 22' Interstate
Van By The River , Georgia
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It's your trailer so do whatever suits you best. Sounds like you've found other ways to keep your food fresh and with the need for more storage the refrigerator space will certainly open up plenty of possibilities.

Hopefully you'll have a place to store the refrigerator when you remove it from the trailer. Even if you plan to keep the trailer for years, the next owner will likely want a conventional RV refrigerator. Whatever you do to modify the space, design it so the process can be reversed and refrigerator reinstalled if needed.

We've seen some modifications similar to what you've described albeit in other areas of the trailer, not the refrigerator. I've seen the spider-web type bungee material used to retain items on the shelves. Also seen "tension rods" that simply use spring force to put a bar across the front of the shelf to keep things in position.
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Old 07-01-2017, 02:07 PM   #3
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2003 28' Safari S/O
Atlanta Burbs , Georgia
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Feel free to customize your trailer for your use. It may pay to not make major mods that wander too far from typical if resale in a few years is a possibility. Finding the next owner who shares a similar view of use and features may take quite some time.

Otherwise, here is a tip for chilling down your rig's frig quicker should you have in interest in an experiment before making the considered conversion to an ARB. I, too, am prone to short notice departures so I keep eight 32oz soft drink beverage bottles frozen in the house freezer. Loading three into the ice box and five in the lower chill section allow me to quickly chill the unit to operating temp as I drive to my first destination. Another option is using the blue ice blocks. Whatever groceries I need can be acquired in route our near/at my destination.

I do turn on the propane promptly whenever I decide I'm heading out. That is usually a few hours beforehand, maybe midnight when the itch strikes to roll at dawn, or just let the frig start as I hitch up. Anything already cold and onhand goes in the frig with the frozen bottles even though it isn't up to temp: usually canned beverages and fruit/vegetables.

I park my trailer beside the house already stocked with a selection of clothes, dry goods, spare water bottles, personals, etc., so mere minutes are all I need to head out on another adventure.
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Old 07-01-2017, 02:47 PM   #4
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2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
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Your money, you trailer to do with as you please. I know you have no plans of ever selling but things happen. In my opinion it will destroy any resale value.
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Old 07-01-2017, 09:28 PM   #5
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1984 31' Sovereign
Edmond , Oklahoma
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Thanks for all the input. I know that no matter what I do, the original fridge will be able to easily be placed back in the trailer once I change my mind!! I'm also debating about just spending the money to get new fridge door gaskets and maybe just start using the fridge!!! Supposedly my fridge runs on three types of power; however, I have never tried the propane option. Will such a fridge run off the truck's alternator while I'm driving? Truthfully, I just need to invest in a remote thermometer so I can monitor the temp no matter what power source I use!!! No need being so paranoid about the fridge not operating properly.


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Old 07-01-2017, 11:18 PM   #6
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First, when using propane the unit draws a tiny amount of 12v to monitor operation (and switches automatically to utility power when detected) which will allow for 24/7 use regardless of hitched status.

The gas absorption method of the reefer design allows all three methods (AC/DC/Gas) to cool well enough but the design struggles in really high temperatures (95+) or high altitudes. Search for "Silenx" and you'll find lots on adding computer fans to assist performance. Unlike the ARB, the absorption refrigerator does require the unit to be level when not moving to prevent the plumbing from fouling which kills the unit.

The design is very efficient on propane and, unless you stop for more than 45 minutes, the unit can remain on while driving without fear of damage. Some owners never run their reefer while under way. There is a divergence of opinion about shutting off the refrigerator at fuel stops for those who do use it while driving. If you subscribe to the "off" crowd it makes sense to stop before you reach the pumps so there is NO chance of igniting fumes. There are many who don't worry about it and a scarcity of examples of gas station fires caused by an RV refrigerator (or hot water heater) so that adds to the debate. Of course the literature and government agencies will all say no-no as CYA.

Running on 12v draws a higher current load on a scare resource so most trailers have two-way (110/120, gas). Those with solar and larger battery banks can use 12v and a 'danfoss-type' marine refrigerator as another excellent option over ARB. Unless you have an oversized alternator with extra capacity, use the propane while driving and let what little excess juice you have trickle charge your trailer batteries.

Repairing your gasket is an easy fix and worth doing before you invest $800 or more in an ARB upgrade unless you already have one. As for monitoring temp, a simple thermometer works for current status of the lower section. Place a penny on top of frozen ice cubes for longer term insight. If you find it frozen to or within a cube, you'll know there was warm period :-)
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Old 07-02-2017, 06:08 AM   #7
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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We had a 1985 25' AS back in the 90's and had to replace the fridge with a new Dometic. Well worth the cost for convenience and resale value -- a good investment without all the workarounds being discussed IMO.

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Old 07-02-2017, 06:23 AM   #8
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1992 29' Excella
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There are a wide variety of ways to travel - overnight trips, short trips, long duration trips and we've done most of them at one point or another. We do typically know in advance so we turn on the refrigerator a day or two in before we leave. We added a home-made version of Fridge-Fix to the interior compartment of the refrigerator and it really helps cool things down and maintain a consistent temperature inside the unit. If you don't have much advance notice that's fine - turn the fridge to propane when you leave and buy some food along the way.

https://smartrvproducts.com/works/

We often travel long days and many times park overnight without hookups. We use the refrigerator in propane mode quite a bit. Couldn't live without it and the ease of keeping food cold and frozen adds quite a bit of utility in my opinion.

Rather than remove the refrigerator to make room for storage consider re-thinking how you travel. The space currently required for a Yeti cooler and some of the other items you mentioned could be utilized for your toys/storage and use the refrigerator for its intended purpose.

You mentioned a 3-way refrigerator but many trailers only have 2-way units (AC and propane). Yours might be 3-way but it would be a little unusual in a trailer. If you do have the battery mode too be sure to understand how much power it consumes. Propane may be the better option.
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Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic / 2010 Interstate
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
2018 GMC Sierra K1500 SLT, 6.2L, Max Trailering
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 07-02-2017, 12:31 PM   #9
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Watertown , Massachusetts
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Storage?

As people have mentioned, most buyers will want a fridge.

Could you just remove the fridge shelves and the door containers and store your stuff in the fridge? That would require about 2 minutes of work to set up and to put back, as compared to the major work you are looking at.

You would probably have a little less storage than if you removed it, but for a LOT less work.

I was considering removing the gas oven because we don't use it. But the solution we came to is to store and run the toaster oven in the oven. The side benefit is that making toast no longer sets off the smoke detector.
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